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Sustainable and carbon-efficient mono-Ethylene Glycol generation in demonstration PLANT

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EGgPLANT (Sustainable and carbon-efficient mono-Ethylene Glycol generation in demonstration PLANT)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-12-31

The EGgPLANT project has succeeded in achieving the intended upscaling of the Ray Technology֭™ to a demonstration plant and validating the Ray TechnologyTM by producing mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) and mono-propylene glycol (MPG) from renewable carbohydrates using a highly carbon efficient catalytic process.
The global MEG market demand is growing from a current base of 33 Mton/year to over 50 Mton by 2035, requiring more than a million tons of additional supply every year for the next twenty years.
Today, almost all of the MEG produced globally is from fossil sources despite a stated need from forward-looking brand owners, packaging and textile companies to source MEG from renewable sources.
There is one provider of bio-based MEG on the market which is using an inefficient and expensive process compared to lower cost oil, shale gas, and coal-based alternatives. This high cost position is hampering the widespread use of bio-based MEG.
To address this issue, Avantium has developed a one-step ‘Ray Technology™ process (formerly known as Mekong) for producing bio-MEG and bio-MPG from renewable sources which can compete with the incumbent fossil-based product on both cost and quality, making the product competitive in the global marketplace and poised to be a sustainable supply solution to address the increasing demand.
The demonstration plant (11 ton/year) built and operated in this project allows for techno-economic scale-up and evaluation of the process, in addition to producing relevant sample quantities of product to support downstream validation in at least three applications, collecting of data to conduct a third-party environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) and preparation for scale-up to industrial size plants.
The next phase after this project is to deploy a Ray commercial flagship plant with a strategic partner in Europe. Target customers of this flagship plant will primarily be European polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producers. Avantium and/or its strategic partner will deploy subsequent industrial scale plants in Europe, and will license out the technology to parties in geographies other than Europe.
The EGgPLANT project has made significant progress. Most notable work performed and main results achieved:
1. Avantium announced Chemie Park Delfzijl in the Netherlands as the location of the demonstration plant and site preparation has been completed.
2. The building of the unit operations of the demonstration plant at the selected engineering companies’ sites. The unit operations have undergone so called ‘factory acceptance testing’ in which each unit operation is thoroughly tested against the design parameters.
3. Successfully started up of the Ray Technology™ demonstration plant.
4. Samples of the first Ray plantMEG™ and Ray plantMPG™ in the demonstration plant produced and tested in relevant in-house end-applications such as i.e. polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyethylene furanoate (PEF) and deicing formulations.
5. Supporting the successful deployment of Avantium’s Ray Technology™ is the commissioning of an external environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA), which will assess the environmental impacts associated with all the stages of bio-MEG production compared to incumbent fossil-based production processes. An interim LCA report on the Ray plantMEG™ has been prepared by a reputable independent third party that has been selected after a thorough tendering process.
6. A Letter of Intent (LOI) and subsequent Addendum to the LOI have been signed for a commercial strategic partnership to build 250 kton/year Ray Technology™ flagship plant. Scale up of the process through the Delfzijl demonstration plant was critical to enable the commercial strategic partnership.
The main objective of the EGgPLANT project is to scale up the ‘Ray’ process, which is producing plant-based mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) and mono-propylene glycol (MPG) and can compete with fossil-based incumbent product on quality and cost effectiveness. The resultant environmental benefits are quantified in the external life-cycle assessment (LCA) which has been commissioned as mentioned in section 1.2.
By selecting Chemie Park Delfzijl as the location of the demonstration plant, Avantium is contributing to a rural area, designated by the European Union as a less developed area. The investment in the demonstration plant generates high quality jobs and development opportunities for plant personnel.
After successful completion of the EGgPLANT project, the ‘Ray’ Technology™ will be ready for scale-up to a commercial flagship, with the intention to be located in the European Union. This flagship will be much larger scale and lead to additional job creation, as well as job security and increased stability throughout the value chain, as it will require larger volumes of feedstock (for example wheat glucose or beet sucrose) from nearby farming and agricultural processing facilities.

The results are positive and demonstrate the usefulness of the project. The EGgPLANT project meet the stated objectives within the dedicated timelines.
Installed destillation tower of the demonstration plant
Demonstration plant under construction